GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

June 12, 2014

Letter: Trip brings 'math alive' for O'Maley kids

To the editor:

How do you get kids excited about math?

You give them the opportunity to actively engage in how math is part of so many things they love – from skateboarding to building structures, to creating animations, and so much more.

Thanks to Raytheon and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, who connected Raytheon with our schools, O’Maley Innovation Middle School students were given that opportunity.

O’Maley students participated in the May 29 ribbon-cutting ceremony for “MathAlive!” at Boston’s Museum of Science and were the first to experience this exciting exhibit.

O’Maley students were chosen because of O’Maley’s status as an “innovation school” school with a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), along with its approach to project-based, experiential learning throughout the curriculum.

Prior to the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, 100 O’Maley students were treated to a showing of the IMAX movie “Pandas: The Journey Home,” and dinner in a private room overlooking the Charles River. Our students were highlighted in the opening remarks and treated like celebrities.

“MathAlive!” is a highly entertaining, interactive exhibit that lets visitors experience math in action. It brings to life all the different types of mathematics at work. Our students moved from exhibit to exhibit trying their skills at building a skyscraper that won’t fall down, learning how much speed you need to do bike-riding or skateboard tricks, creating a 360 degree image of themselves which highlighted the mathematics that are required for things our students take for granted such as how a computer works. In short, it was truly exciting!

“Our research has shown that young students become more interested in math and science when they can relate it to a subject about which they are passionate,” Raytheon Chairman William H. Swanson said to the crowd of guests and our enthusiastic middle-school students. “The exhibit engages them on their terms by bringing to life the math behind many of the things they love including video games, sports, fashion, music, robotics and more.”

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